Girls’ Basketball: Carson defense halts Douglas comeback attempt |

Girls’ Basketball: Carson defense halts Douglas comeback attempt

by Joey Crandall

It’s rare that the outcome of a basketball game can be determined within the first two scores, but Carson’s Eliza Matley did about as good a job of setting the tone for her team as one could hope.

Matley hit a pair of early 3-pointers to get the Senators going Wednesday night in Minden and set Carson rolling to its fourth-consecutive win — a 35-26 victory of the rival Douglas Tigers.

“Those were big shots,” Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. “It pulled Douglas out of their zone, which helped us out. She is starting to shoot it pretty well. She hit a couple shots last night (against North Valleys), then she got hurt, and still hit a couple more. Then tonight she had those two at the start. That was big.”

Douglas coach Werner Christen agreed.

“They knocked those two shots down and we didn’t go a good job of closing out on defense from there,” he said. “After that, Carson created stuff real well with their penetration. Matley got them going. Hats off to her.”

Matley’s shots launched the Senatorss on an 8-2 run, which they were able to translate into a 10-4 lead by the end of the first quarter. After Carson pushed it to 14-6, Douglas answered back with a 6-0 run of its own on baskets from Desiree Cage, Diana Regalado and a pair of free throws from Ebony Cleveland to cut the lead to two at 14-12.

The Senators clamped down on defense on the next several possessions, though, and essentially never looked back.

“We had about three straight series where we really played tough defense,” Ackermann said. “We didn’t give them anything easy and we forced them into one five-second count. That helped. There were timed we struggled shooting tonight, and there were times we didn’t. But, our defense at the end of that second quarter really turned the game for us.”

Carson cashed the defensive stops in for six unanswered points late in the half and went into the locker rooms leading 20-14.

“We actually felt pretty good at halftime,” Christen said. “We’d started to rotate better defensively and our spacing was good. We’d had that little run to get back into it and we liked where we were.”

Douglas came out with a solid possession to start the second half, running a minute and a half off the clock before drawing a foul, that Amanda Wartgow was able to convert one free throw from.

Carson, though, put together another 6-0 run to essentially put the game out of reach at 26-15 exiting the third quarter.

“We just couldn’t stop their penetration,” Christen said. “All of their points in the second half came inside the paint. We were slow rotating to it. That’s what happens.”

Douglas rallied with an 8-2 run to open the fourth, cutting the score to 28-23, but an 8-2 Senator run down the stretch put the game out of reach.

Matley led all scorers with 13 points while Tiana McAllister-Daggs and Maddi Saarem each had six. Emily Collins and Savannah Smith each had four points and Kaitlin Holmes added two.

Cleveland led Douglas with six points and Desiree Cage, Erica Macias and Diana Regalado each had four. Cora Moody added another three and Amanda Wartgow, Tia Lyons and Taylor McKinnon each had two.

While Ackerman said the length of his team’s win streak is irrelevant, he said he was happy with the way his team has been playing since closing out last week’s Las Vegas Holiday Classic.

“This is a big win because it’s a league win,” he said. “We started the year where in our first eight games, we played three of the top four teams in the state with Reed, Reno and Centennial. It was just a brutal opening schedule.

“But we battled through it. We started to roll the last two games in Las Vegas and then last night at North Valleys. Tonight, it’s big. It’s a rivalry game and it’s an important league game. We’re 2-0 against the Sierra League now and 3-2 in Northern 4A. We’re in a good spot.”